The platforms so far

Behind all the talk of coalitions and staffing scandals, political parties really do have objectives and plans if they were to win an election. But, most of the time, it is difficult to see through the sensationalism of politics to realize it.

Yet, just a few days into the federal election campaign, we’ve already been presented with some interesting ideas from each of the parties. TheIndependent.ca clears the fog for you and presents to you the ideas so far — and what they could mean to you.

Conservative Party

  • Accelerated Business Write-offs. This is a two-year extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investment in machinery and equipment by Canadian manufacturers — helping Canadian companies make the necessary investment to improve their productivity.
  • Hiring Credit for Small Businesses. To lower the cost of hiring new workers, this will provide a one-time credit of up to $1,000 against the resulting increase in a small employer’s EI premiums in 2011.
  • The Family Tax Cut. Families with children will be allowed to share up to $50,000 of their household income for federal tax purposes. This will provide tax relief for almost 1.8 million families who will save, on average, $1,300 per year.

Liberal Party

  • The Canadian Learning Passport. This education initiative will provide families with $4,000 tax-free over four years for every high school student who chooses to go to university or college or $6,000 for low-income families.
  • New Family Care Plan. This includes the introduction of a new 6-month EI benefit designed for those caring for gravely-ill family members at home, without having to quit their jobs. It also includes a new tax benefit to help low and middle-income families who provide essential care to a family member at home.
  • Public Pensions. This plan includes a gradual increase in premiums and benefits in the Canada Pension Plan. In addition, a new voluntary and flexible supplementary program will be introduced to any worker who wants to contribute more.

NDP

  • Accelerated Business Write-offs. This is a two-year extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investment in machinery and equipment by Canadian manufacturers — helping Canadian companies make the necessary investment to improve their productivity.
  • Small Business Tax Initiatives. This includes dropping the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to 9 per cent, and the creation of a tax credit for employers of up to $4,500 per new hire.
  • Bank Fees Reduction. NDP will cap credit card interest rates at five per cent plus prime, and crack down on excessive transaction charges.

Just five days in and there are some stark differences in policy proposals by each of the parties — and some surprising similarities.

Some are thinking big already, while others seem to be keeping major plans close to the chest. It should be noted that the parties are also running on promises and ideas presented before the election, but none have released a comprehensive policy platform, yet, at this early stage.

Stay tuned to TheIndependent.ca for continuing coverage on the 2011 election, and further comparisons of party policies.

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